“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)
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Friday, April 3, 2009
Every time I hear the word "Love", my mind goes back to that silly movie, "The Princess Bride", where Princess Buttercup is marrying the Prince, who is not her "True Love".
The priest says, "WUV, TWU WUV"! and from there it is a blurrrr. But I always think about what is TWU WUV?
Lately, I have had the honor of talking with a few people about the meaning of love.
Our language does not have enough words to accurately describe love.
We use the word so casually... I love those flowers! I love that dress! I love your house!
But we all know those are just expressions for saying we really like something. We "feel good" about it or it makes us feel good. Some things just make us feel "happy".
But truly, loving, isn't necessarily about a "feeling" you have.
Love is a verb. It is an action. It is always putting the best interests of another in front of yourself.
1Corinthians 13:4-8 (just the beginning of vs.8) Love is Patient, love is kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love BEARS ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS.
LOVE NEVER ENDS...
The scripture speaks about Love as a Fruit of the Spirit and something to be SOUGHT.
That tells me that TRUE LOVE does not come naturally.
The Love the scripture is speaking about is AGAPE Love. It is the deepest form of love, and the same Love God has for us.
This word love would not be used to describe how one feels about their new couch.
This brings me to to "Loving" our children with AGAPE love.
When our kids come to us, many times they have bad attitudes, bad habits, or difficult behaviors. They are already grown and have lived life apart from us, so in fact, they are strangers as are we to them!
When they come, we MUST choose the AGAPE road of love with them in order to attach to them and for them to attach to us fully.
One of the ways to apply AGAPE love to our children, is to treat the adoption as we would a marriage. Not the modern marriage that ends in divorce 6 months later or the stale marriage that stays together because of the children. But the permanent covenant of marriage that has life flowing from it.
You walk in with eyes wide open and after you have "hopped over the stick", you close your eyes forever to those things that could draw you apart.
It is the same for our kids. We walk in, bring our kids home, and when the day is done, they are ours to CHOOSE to love. Some are easier to love than others, some respond more readily than others, but that doesn't change one iota of what we are called to do as parents in SACRIFICIALLY loving our children. And our kids cannot grow unless they truly know that the love we have for them is truly genuine.
As time goes on, and TIME is a BIG FACTOR, then, the "feelings that follow". Our feelings line up with our actions.
I have a deep love for all of my children and for my husband. That Love carries me through when they do something annoying. Guess what? I know that I annoy them too. If I were to concentrate on the things that each person did that annoyed me, I'd be one unhappy and miserable individual and so would they. If they were to concentrate on my annoyances, the same would happen.
Instead, looking at the positives, will bring out the best in our relationships.
Study your children. Look at what is GREAT about them. If they are trying hard to accomplish something, love that about them. If they have a cute smile, love that about them.
Seek to be joyful in the little things and big things will follow.
A child who is not loved, KNOWS IT. Believe me, they do. A child who is being patronized knows it. Their behaviors and feelings will show it too.
I have heard the saying, "fake it until you make it" thrown around for several years now. I have a big problem with that saying, because there is NOTHING FAKE about sacrificially loving your children. There is NOTHING fake about doing what is right.
Now, if you are talking about LOVING your children as you should, even when you don't have deep overwhelming powerful emotions, that has nothing to do with being fake.
When when our children begin to respond to AGAPE LOVE, you will see thier behaviors change and you will also catch yourself seeing what a sweetheart they are, or how cute their little toes are, or how sweet their little smile is.
Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I hold grudges? Am I choosing to see what is best in my child? Do I rejoice when they do what is right and good? Am I hopeful for my child's future? Am I bearing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things?
I challenge you to Make your love genuine. Make it to be TRUE LOVE... AGAPE LOVE.
That is what we are called to do.